Blinded by “Delight”

December 7, 2015

Image by Jennifer Park and Faiza Uppal.


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Blinded by “Delight.” © Jennifer Park and Faiza Uppal.

Blinded by “Delight” is an image that addresses the theme of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, the State of the Art of Architecture. The work refers to architecture’s current realm as limited to what Vitruvius would call “delight.” While firmness and commodity are largely controlled by engineers and developers, architecture’s control is regulated to delight. Architecture’s fascination with the complexity of patterns and forms creates a “veil” over our eyes.

On one hand, this veil protects the relevancy of our profession, but on the other hand, the “veil of delight” allows architects to hide away from the difficulties of social and political issues. The veil is superficial yet mesmerizing, and serves only to disguise reality. The complex web lures, the intricacy traps, and the delicacy binds. Ultimately, we are lost in this layered field and shrouds the world beyond.

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Chicago building details. © Jennifer Park and Faiza Uppal.

Each pattern overlaid is a translation of modern Chicago building details forming the skyline of Chicago. Patterns are created using digital scripts based on the original detail’s ordering system. The redoubling of systems and rules to create more patterns from patterns reinforces the strength of the veil that hides ourselves from the political side of architecture. This inhibits us from challenging our cultural needs and desires.


Blinded by “Delight” was co-awarded the 2015 Burnham Prize hosted by the Chicago Architectural Club in alliance with the Chicago Architecture Biennial.